Frequently Asked Property Questions
What are Home Reports?
Home Reports have been required since December 2008 and all sellers marketing their residential properties after this date need to provide one.
The Home Report consists of three separate documents - a single survey, which is prepared by a surveyor; an energy report covering the energy efficiency rating and environmental impact of the property; a property questionnaire which is completed by the seller and covers details about the property.
How soon after placing my property on the market do I need to produce a Home Report?
You must provide a Home Report within nine days of marketing your property.
How long is a Home Report valid for?
There is currently no legal period for how long a Home Report is valid. From a purchaser's point of view, however, a Home Report more than twelve weeks old may not be suitable for use by their lending institution. The Home Report would have to be updated /refreshed. This is usually just a re-inspection.
Who is responsible for compiling the Home Report?
The seller pays for the Home Report. As a general rule you cannot charge prospective purchasers for viewing the Home Report.
Do I need a Home Report if I am selling privately?
Yes, you will still need to produce one. The person accountable for marketing their property must provide a Home Report to any potential purchasers.
How much will a Home Report Cost?
This will vary according to the valuation of the property but it is likely to be in the region of £500 - £900.
At what stage should do I instruct a solicitor?
Good professional advice and guidance is invaluable and we recommend that you seek solicitor's advice as soon as possible.
What does Noting Interest mean?
This is the way any potential purchaser indicates that they are seriously interested in the property being marketed.
However, ‘Noting Interest’ places no obligation on the seller or their agent. Also by noting interest the potential purchaser is indicating that they want to be kept updated as to the level of interest expressed for the property and if there is to be a closing date fixed for offers to be submitted. From a seller's perspective this is a good guide in gauging the level of serious interest for their property.
What is meant by offers over?
This indicates that the seller expects to receive offers above the stated price.
What is meant by offers around /in region of?
This indicates that the seller hopes to receive at least the price as stated, but may also consider an offer in the region of the price stated.
What is meant by fixed price?
This indicates that he seller will accept the first unconditional offer at the price stated.
What are missives?
These are formal letters exchanged between both parties’ solicitors. The missives start with the submission of an offer on behalf of the purchaser. It is unusual that a seller will instruct his solicitor to issue an unqualified acceptance and normally a formal written acceptance subject to certain amendments and conditions will be issued on behalf of the seller. This is effectively a counter-offer and it is up to the purchaser to accept or reject the amendments/conditions or to walk away from the transaction. Such letters will continue to be exchanged until such time as the purchaser and seller finally reach agreement. Once the contract is concluded there is in place a legally binding and enforceable contract. If you fail to implement the agreed terms you will be liable for substantial damages, so you should not submit an offer for a property unless you are willing to be legally bound and unless you are satisfied that you will be able to finance the purchase.
Is a verbal offer binding?
No. A verbal offer is not legally binding.
Do I need to sign the missives?
No. The solicitor will sign on behalf of the purchaser as their agent .The solicitor will check with you throughout the negotiation of the missives and will sign on your behalf once your instructions have been confirmed.
When do I pay Stamp Duty on residential properties?
Stamp duty is payable depending on the level of purchase price and the current rates are:
£125,000 or less Nil
£125,001-£250,000 1% of the purchase price
£250,001-£500,000 3% of the purchase price
£500,001 and over 4% of the purchase price
From April 2011 on values of more than £1 million the duty is charged at 5% of the purchase price. For commercial property stamp duty starts at £150,000. If you are a first time buyer the threshold for when you start to pay Stamp Duty is £250,000. This only applies if you have never owned a house or flat in theUKor anywhere else in the world. If you are purchasing with someone else they must never have owned property before either. This higher threshold applies to purchases made on or after 25th March 2010 - 25th March 2012.
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